“We were concerned that these requests went beyond the scope of what was relevant to this specific audit, and posed unnecessary risks to employees’ privacy,” Naughton wrote.
Berlin’s decision, she noted, found that interviews with Google executives and managers — as well as reviews of more than 1 million compensation-related data points and other documents — resulted in “nothing credible or reliable” to show that the Labor Department’s theory is based on “anything more than speculation.”
Appearing in court in April, Janette Wipper, a Labor Department regional director, said investigators found “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.”
Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., disagreed with the charges, saying at the time: “Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap.”
More from USA Today:
Only about one in five tech jobs at Google is held by a woman, the company says, while women represent nearly one-third of Google’s more than 70,000 workers. In 2015, a former Google employee alleged a pattern of pay inequity, a charge the company denied.
The Labor Department’s probe evolved from a lawsuit filed in January seeking to bar Google doing business with the federal government unless it complied with an audit of employee compensation records. Google has said it turned over some of the requested records but withheld others that it believes would invade workers’ privacy.
In his decision, Judge Berlin said the Labor Department didn’t explain convincingly why it needed extensive data — including names, addresses, telephone numbers and personal email addresses — of Google workers.